Thursday, April 16, 2009

Posted by xCHIPxSEM |
Andrew Jacobs shot me an email the other day and included an interview he did with Sean Fader from the band Blackspot. Thank you so much to him for allowing us to use this. This interview was conducted within the last month though I dont have an exact date. For some reason, I cant change the color of the font, so I spaced out the questions and answers, I apologize if its a rough read. Ill see if I can mess with it a little later.

Let's talk for a bit about the very successful recent Hardcore Reunion cancer benefit show that your band Blackspot played with No For An Answer, A Chorus of Disapproval, Headfirst and ICE at Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California on 3/22/09. How was it that Blackspot became involved with playing this show?

I guess when decisions were being made by Dan O and Hartsfield who to have play with NFAA, they both agreed on us. How they picked us, I have no idea. We must have made an impression in the past. Lohman still regularly talks to them, so communication was easy enou
gh. He then called me first, assured in his mind I would say no (I still don't know why). Of course it was a shock, followed by really great past show memories, followed by the nightmare stories of really great bands WAY bigger than us playing reunion shows to 12 people, all of whom were in the other bands playing that night (maybe that's why Lohman thought I'd say no). After me totally DRILLING him with questions about it (I'm a stickler for annoying details) and lots of "I don't knows" from him, I then rounded up the rest of the dudes, with Hampton climbing aboard last in Lytle's absence. Once we and ICE were confirmed, the date was set.

The lineup for the show consisted of you on drums, singer Greg Brown, bassist Jason Hampton and guitarists Chris Lohman, Roger Merritt & Barry Fader. What did having 3 guitarists (as opposed to the usual one or two) add to the overall performance?

I'm glad you asked that. I've read a few confused comments about it on the internet that I thought were funny. With that show, I really wanted to try to involve everyone who's been in the band and put on the BEST show possible. With original bassist Scott Lytle living in Oregon, it just made sense to have Hampton play because he had played guitar in Blackspot for a short time in the '90s. He even wrote a song ("Drop") that we kept. So I let Hampton, Lohman and my brother decide who was going to play bass. Of course we don't NEED 3 guitars but for us, it just made it way more fun and we've always kind of kept a few tricks up our sleeves until we are on stage. I love all those guys and for me, it was hilarious looking up at 3 very large dudes and my 5'5" 120 lb brother. Obviously, it made the sound very heavy and powerful, plus what hardcore band ever has 3 guitarists? None, so the initial reaction effect of "WTF are all those dudes doing up there?" and when you see that and they all have really good gear, you know it's going to be insane sounding.

You were the band member most involved both with setting up the band practices around everyone's busy schedules and promoting the show on the internet. How difficult was it to schedule band practice with other members (as well as yourself) who had, among many other responsibilities, families and other currently active bands?

It was really tough. To think it was hard enough convincing them it wasn't going to be lame, then realizing I just asked 5 other guys with full-time jobs, some with kids and other bands to practice once a week for 7 weeks was gnarly. It had to be me because I'm the one guy that still talks to all the others, so with my nerd machines (computer and Blackberry), I could be the one to tie it all together. Oh dude, that's another thing! Out of the 6 of us, some guys either don't
have a computer at home, don't know how to text, don't get their email to their phone or don't even check their email! And nobody ever uses "reply all", so it got REALLY crazy trying to set it up, especially when answers were needed right away. I had to crack the whip and somehow became team captain of the whole thing. So, of course, that meant updating the Myspace page constantly and Ball-Metal (Brian Balchack) convinced me to do a Facebook page (like I needed more shit to do).

Why did you guys decide to play a song both from Lohman's band Collateral Damage ("Holding My Breath") and Hampton's band The Third Degree ("Bulletproof")?

Oh that's easy. Like I said before, I wanted to put on the best show possible. So we wanted to include some cool songs that were written by guys in the band that we thought people would like to hear live again. We could have played all Blackspot songs but that's kind of boring and we don't really like the demo songs as much, so we figured this will never happen again and we wanted to have some fun with it. We all like that Damage song, we played it at our last show in '99 and it gave Lohman a chance to get loose again. Plus it's one of the best songs on the Guilty By Association comp., everyone knows it, and as you saw, the chicks really love it. I couldn't resist making Hampton do a Third Degree song, with his crazy beard and biker get-up, I knew it would be good. That band was so amazing and underrated and watching what he
does live, he is just the absolute most entertaining frontman. I said "pick a song" and he picked a great one.

We really had no idea how much stage time they were giving us, so we stopped adding songs at 9. We even toyed with playing a Function song (Barry wrote most of them) but we were just out of time. The extra songs really worked out. Brown is the only guy who has not played music since the last Blackspot show in '99. Although he totally kicked ass and pulled it off, you saw how destroyed he was at the end of the set. The two breaks were perfect.

How would you personally rate Blackspot's overall performance at the show?

Seriously? I am very proud. When I first started asking the guys to do it, I made them a promise that we would work hard enough to be the best band of the night and if anyone disagreed with the effort, then we're wasting each other's time and we just wouldn't do it at all. I
became the ass-kicker and the guy that had to yell at everybody. Of course it wasn't a competition, but here was my feeling personally - when we were a real band, we used to make a set list, quietly get on the stage, totally BLAST through it with the help of the crowd and get the fuck off the stage. No dick-around time setting up, no preaching or excess time wasting between songs, no bullshit talk-to-our-friends-on-the-stage-for-10-minutes when we were done. That was my goal for the reunion show - get all 6 of us up there, blaze through our songs flawlessly and get the fuck out of the way for the next band. Sure, there wasn't the same amount of sing-along and pit movement that there used to be (we played 2nd but it was still past most of the old peoples' bed times). I just wanted to blow the roof off and move on. So that's what we did.

As a drummer, who are some of your primary influences and why?

I started playing when I was 15. I took some lessons to learn how, then taught myself using punk and hardcore records. What an idiot, I should have done it right. I'm paying for it now (that and the 6 year break I took from playing music). I think when I was younger, I liked the guys that played the fastest and loudest. I don't mean straight up crust-core, I just mean the guys that blow you away. It wasn't until I got older that I began to appreciate timing and skill.
I'm always drawn to the wild drummers as opposed to the precision Swiss-clock types. Think Keith Moon as opposed to John Bonham. So I'll just list the more entertaining hardcore and punk drummers (by band name to make it easy) who are great to see and hear live: Infest, Inside Out (Alex), Vision, Rorschach, Cro-Mags, anything Drew (Beat) did, Helmet, RFTC, Beyond (any Alan Cage), DK, any Sammy Siegler, Farside, PHC, Fugazi, Reason To Believe, Sensefield, UC (Longrie), Carry Nation (Steve's drumming was so pissed in that), RKL... the list goes on but listen to or watch ANY of those drummers and you will be amazed. Did you ever watch my brother when he drummed in 1134? He was fuckin' wild in that! Just killed it and played almost naked! So good!

What brands and types of gear do you use and why?

I've had the same Pearl Export 5 piece since I was 15. I've never had a lot of money to spend on drums, so I just kept those really nice. They were on all our recordings and I played all of
our shows with 'em. Jason (Function) and I even used them on our 1993 summer tour. I've never been in a real band to justify getting a real nice set until now. Thanks to Chris Lisk and his endless hook-ups, I am currently using a Mapex Pro-M 4 piece with a super deep bass drum that was custom made for the ETID drummer. I've been using Aquarian heads that are great for heavy sound. For my hardware, I have an Iron Cobra pedal and a mix of Tama and Pearl stands. I like larger, heavier cymbals because it's more fun to hit harder and I like a really deep sound. Heavy duty Zildjian high-hats, 18" Zildjian and 20" Paiste medium-heavy crashes, and a really heavy 22" Paiste ride that I've had forever and I even crash it and it has held off the abuse for 18 years! Those red sticks you saw are factory seconds, they stain them red and a bag of them is CHEAP! I like Vic Firth American Classic 5A a lot right now though. Dude, how frickin' drum nerd was that whole last paragraph?

Blackspot did a 5 week U.S. tour with Function during the summer of 1993. Do you have any funny or interesting stories from that tour that you'd like to tell?

Yes. I think I will just list some thoughts to try to keep it short: 11 HC (3 Sloth Crew) kids from Huntington Beach ages 16 to 23, in 2 vans playing music across the US for 5 weeks, hmmmm................
Randy Johnson throwing a rod in PT's Suburban in Baker. Function renting a van, and it getting everything short of lit on fire. Fireworks stores the size of a grocery store. Us rolling into every show, shooting fireworks at each other from van to van. Tony Bono from Into Another teaching us about safety wipes. Us starting a fireworks war with the locals, and saying a big FU to the Hare Ramas, shooting fireworks at the 108 and Shelter vans after the show we played with them in St Louis, in what was a Photon game facility. Us having a MASSIVE fireworks war in the parking lot of a roller rink in PA we
played at with Sick Of It All. Roman candles and bottle rockets entering SOIA's van, with Craig walking out saying "Alright! Who wants to get kicked in the folkin' teet?" Then the SOIA guys pulling up chairs and watching our war. ALL the employees of the roller rink, coming out to kick our ass for having the war, then Brown telling them they're "gonna get gatted motherfucker!", (Lytle brought a .22 in the van) then the guy with the biggest mullet says "Who's gonna gat me?" Then a long silence...... Us stealing cases of ATF at every gas station, to re-fill our van's permanently leaking transmission. Us meeting the guys from Strength 691, hanging with them for a week, and the rental van that we promised was staying in Vegas getting a parking ticket in Rahway, NJ.
Tony Bono inviting us to a vegan dinner at his mom's in NJ, where we ask, Tony, you're over 30 and still live at your parents? WTF?
At all 4 shows we played with Into Another, watching the 2 or 3 hottest chicks follow Drew around. The kids in Detroit demanding Randy sing a Pushed Aside song with Function. Brown shoving the camera in our face asking "Who's the most annoying guy on tour so far" every time we stopped. The 'Coke machine trick" to get money and free sodas. Clitty-Litter. The all Crust show we played in S.Dakota, and the chicks digging us because we weren't Crust. The list goes on. Best trip ever.

What hardcore and non-hardcore bands do you listen to the most nowadays and why?

That's hard to answer. The list is long. Pretty much, at any given time though, you would find me listening to something that punches your nuts, tools your ass, and kicks your face at the same time.

What are some of your favorite Blackspot songs and why?

My favorite song is "Van Dresen". Named after the teacher from Beavis and Butthead. The chorus ("Epp a Sepp") and song title have nothing to do with the lyrics, which Brown wrote about being emotionally crushed,
I think. It's the one full song Roger wrote that we actually kept and it's also the closest we let him get to a speed metal song. I just love it. If you were to ever define my type of song, that I absolutely love playing the most, that would be it. 2nd would be "Truckasaurus", mostly because of the music written by Lohman, silly lyrics about Super Big Gulps (we drank them a lot at the time) by Lytle while he was in the shower. Again, it's just my style, built to destroy. 3rd would be "Drop". Music written by Hampton tuned to D, it's just so metal and pissed, and really different from our others. The lyrics go with the title and tuning. Unfortunately, we had 6 or 7 songs that never got recorded. Two of my other favorites are "Fader", (named for us brothers) and "Firenze". The music for both was written by Barry. I really like the lyrics to "Firenze", named after a town in Italy where Brown was staying. Every night, in his hotel room there, he had really gnarly nightmares and only in Firenze. So he wrote a song about it. I always thought that was cool.

Feel free to shamelessly plug any of your current musical and/or non-musical endeavors that you feel like plugging here.

I'd rather just say thanks (and sorry) to the other 5 guys that played in Blackspot for the show. I really muscled those dudes (and myself) to make it happen and two times, I flipped out and almost walked. We're all still friends and 5 of us (separately) still play music. But to come back in after 10 years and rock those songs at a real hardcore show again felt really good. Thanks to Lytle for being cool and supporting us playing without him.


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